Slick (Second Chance with the Chick)

It’s been a while since I did one of these.  I really wish developers would take me up on the Second Chance with the Chick offer more often.  I know a lot of games I bust on here get patched up later, but developers are gun-shy about having me “go after” their games again.  Even if Second Chances are typically lighter and focus on the changes to the game, with less emphasis on smacking games down.  Or sometimes they patch the game and expect me to just Second Chance it on my own.  I don’t keep track of what games have been patched (XboxIndies.com has a sidebar that lets you know what games have been updated).  It’s up to developers to let me know.  And then just wait while I drag my feet to write the review.  Speaking of which, hi there Halcyon Softworks!  I didn’t forget you!

We’re in Hell already?

I reviewed Slick, a punisher with Game Boy-like visuals back in July and I hated it because I felt it was too brutal.  People say I have a bias against punishers, and I say “guilty as charged.”  I don’t understand the appeal in them.  I don’t understand why they keep getting made, especially when they consistently sell like shit on XBLIG (only 2 out of the top 100 best-selling XBLIGs are punishers).  The market as a whole doesn’t want them.  They’ll earn you fans among a very small niche of “retro” gamers, and they might even earn you fans among the development community if they are well designed and bear and uncanny resemblance to vintage games of yesteryear.  But if you are capable of doing a very well made, yet overly difficult platformer, you should be capable of making a game that everyone can enjoy.  Who knows?  It might even sell in greater numbers.

I think everyone agrees that the Apple Jack games are the pinnacle of design among punishers on XBLIG.  I don’t even like them, but I tip my hat to them for audio-visual design, play control, and charm.  Especially the sequel.  Among the closed-off XBLIG community, they’re highly regarded.  But when you get down to the cold, hard facts, the original Apple Jack isn’t one of the top 300 selling games.  Apple Jack 2 isn’t even in the top 900.  Mind you, Apple Jack 2 made the rounds on mainstream gaming sites, including full reviews at IGN and Kotaku.  And it’s already been passed on the top seller list by such recent fare as Lucky.  Fans of the game don’t understand it.  Hell, I don’t even totally understand it, but I’ll make a guess: punishers don’t lend themselves to word-of-mouth sales.  I’m guessing not many people say “this game is damn near impossible to play and makes me feel like an inadequate twat.  GO BUY IT!”

Where was I?

Slick.  So in my original review, I did a step-by-step diagram of why one of the stages didn’t work so well.  The game asked for perfect precision from players, while dealing with shaky controls and insanely unfair collision detection.  The guys behind it have tightened these issues up.  Collision detection more closely resembles the outlines of the enemies, and controls seem to be tightened, but that might be a perception thing.  I still don’t like the level design, or the art style.  Then again, I never owned an original Game Boy, so this does nothing to tickle my nostalgia rib.  I do actively question why anyone would do a Game Boyish game these days.  With the possible exception of Donkey Kong (aka Donkey Kong ’94), most of the games on that platform have aged with the grace and dignity of an unembalmed corpse.

Slick is either pretty or Joan Rivers-esq grotesque, depending on how old you are.

Slick really is no better or worse than your average hateful platform.  With the corrections made to it, Slick can now stand on its own and be reviewed on the merit of level design.  In that regard, it’s a total bastard that hates you and all things sunny and innocent.  If this is what you’re looking for in a game, you’ll enjoy it.  It’s not what I’m looking for, so I didn’t.  Hopefully the skilled dudes at Halcyon Softworks can apply their talent towards something with more mass-market appeal next time.  You guys proved you can blow up a bullfrog with a firecracker.  Now show me you can take that frog and make delicious frog legs with it.

Slick was developed by Halcyon Softworks

80 Microsoft points actually hate frog legs in the making of this review.

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

4 Responses to Slick (Second Chance with the Chick)

  1. Pingback: Slick « Indie Gamer Chick

  2. Hmm, I’d have to say I’m not clear on what’s actually been changed other than the collision detection. Did you find that the improved collision detection made any of the levels less frustrating?

  3. I just stumbled upon this 2 1/2 weeks after the fact, thanks for doing it. Without a doubt the experience earned from developing a commercially released game from start to finish will ensure my next game, which I’ve been working hard on lately, is of a much higher quality and is highly polished. Not to mention it’s of a different genre – one with more universal appeal. Also, this time around I’ll actually listen to anyone who tests it.

  4. halcyonsoftworks says:

    I just stumbled upon this 2 1/2 weeks after the fact, thanks for doing it. Without a doubt the experience earned from developing a commercially released game from start to finish will ensure my next game, which I’ve been working hard on lately, is of a much higher quality and is highly polished. Not to mention it’s of a different genre – one with more universal appeal. Also, this time around I’ll actually listen to anyone who tests it.

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